Groam is a provider of biodegradable foam biomaterials for fast disposables such as protective packaging or plant substrates.
Could you explain what your startup does in a few sentences?
Groam is offering biodegradable foamed materials for fast disposables in the polymeric foam industry. Our foams are produced with a proprietary combination of a material design based on agricultural waste streams and
an environmentally friendly foaming technology.
How did your idea come about?
In my PhD work, while creating new ways to efficiently foam food, we developed a foaming technology for food biomaterials at scale. Patents were filed for it and this inspired me on thinking of where to really make an impact with this technology. I started talking to people all around. Coming from food science, I realized the scope of the food waste challenge and started learning of the polymeric foam plastic pollution-related challenges.
I came up with the idea of combining these challenges and looking if we could foam food wastes into lightweight biomaterials.
What is the most innovative part of your startup, and how is it different from your competitors.
The innovation is in the foaming of biomaterials, which is hard to achieve. The innovation is also finding food waste-based formulations that can be foamed and serve a purpose on the market with specific properties needed for different applications. Often biobased and biodegradable foams are not achieving the performance of today’s petrochemical-based foams. Groam is searching for areas and applications, where biodegradable and biobased foams can be applied already today, such as fast disposables.
What’s the key lesson you’ve learned so far in running a business?
I learned that the team is the most important. It is crucial to have an encouraging core team and together look for people from the industry and partner up. Large solutions cannot be driven alone by small startups. Success and technology transfer depends a lot on the early trust of people who already know the industry and are not scared to innovate. Also, we learned that a key aspect is the scalability of sustainable solutions and designing sustainability measurement frameworks to capture and quantify the impact. These aspects take a long time and effort until a whole supply chain can be built and CO2 footprints of it to be assessed.
A big lesson is to be surrounded by people you trust including lawyers.
Groam is on a mission to demonstrate sustainable solutions at scale.